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Emergency Information for Faculty and Instructors in the Classroom

The importance of emergency preparedness extends into the classroom. Students, even in higher education settings, look to the instructor for guidance and definitive action during an emergency.
Faculty and instructors who take a few minutes at the start of each semester to familiarize their students with basic evacuation and emergency procedures will find a peace of mind that they and their students are better prepared for an emergency.
Faculty and instructors are presented with a unique challenge in emergency planning as they travel between buildings and classrooms delivering lectures and guiding lab activities. The following information is intended to serve as a quick reference during emergencies.
Students, even in the university environment, look to the person at the front of the class as the leader of the group. Even in classes as small as 5 individuals, students expect the instructor to have answers and a clear plan when an emergency occurs.
What should I do as the instructor?
  • Clearly cover the basic emergency procedures for the class during the first week of class (10 minutes of pre-planning can save lives).
  • Know how to report an emergency from the classroom.
  • Communicate the evacuation route and assembly area outside the building in case of emergency.
  • Ask students if they have emergency training such as CPR or first aid and be prepared to call on them in an emergency.
  • Evacuate the classroom if a medical emergency occurs to allow emergency responders to access the victim.
  • Persons with special needs, who self-identify, should be able to provide information on special assistance needs if an emergency occurs. Persons with special needs may need assistance leaving the building during an evacuation.
  • Most importantly: Provide leadership if an emergency arises and follow emergency procedures for all building alarms and emergencies.
How do I report an Emergency?
  • Dial x2022 (518-564-2022) or 911. (Program University Police’s number into your cell phone)
  • State the nature of emergency.
  • Remain on the line until the operator hangs up.
What should I carry with me to class?
  • Class roster
  • Cell phone
  • List of important telephone numbers (i.e. department leadership, supervisors, or lab managers, if applicable) 
How do I evacuate the classroom?
Use the nearest available exit. Evacuation routes are posted on building walls throughout the hallways. Know the evacuation routes for your classroom. Look for illuminated EXIT signs in larger classrooms to determine primary and secondary Exits. All fire alarms require mandatory evacuation.
Where do I go after evacuation?
As your class is evacuating the classroom, ensure that everyone is leaving the building. Outside assembly areas have been designated for all campus buildings. Locations are listed at If you cannot get to your assembly area, evacuate to at least 150’ from the building. Familiarize yourself with these procedures. Ensure that your class knows the location and use it to account for students during an evacuation.
What about a person with special needs?
  • Whenever possible, identify a partner to assist those with special needs during an emergency incident. Do not attempt to lift /carry individuals with special needs since this may cause serious injuries. Only professional Rescue Personnel should lift or carry individuals with special needs.
  • If a person with special needs is prohibited from evacuating their building, they should be assisted by a partner to an area of refuge or a shelter-in-place location. The partner should instruct the individual to stay in place while they exit the building and notifies emergency personnel of the individual’s location. 
  • Dial x2022 (518-564-2022) or 9-1-1 and identify the name and location of the person who is unable to exit.   
  • An Area of Refuge should have the following criteria: 
    • An enclosed area, preferably with fire rated doors and walls, 
    • A campus phone, if possible, and 
    • Located in close proximity to exits, stairwells or other access points for Rescue Personnel. 
What if there is violence or an active shooter?    Run / Hide / Fight 
  • If it is safe to exit the building, do so and get as far away from the building as possible.
  • Dial x2022 (518-564-2022) or 911 from a cell phone to report the emergency.
  • If it is not safe to exit the building, secure the classroom by locking the doors.
  • Block the door with desks, chairs, or tables or other heavy objects.
  • Move people away from windows and get behind items that protect them (desk, chairs, tables, etc.). Silence all cell phones.
  • Treat the injured using basic first aid (apply pressure to wounds and elevate bleeding arms or legs).
  • If there are no other options, commit to fighting the assailant.

(Click here for more information on Run, Hide, Fight and to watch the video)